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Today was teppanyaki day at Wakaba-chan’s house.
I had some high-grade beef with me as a present.
What do you mean I just wanted to eat it?
“Takamichi-san, please have this meat. If it pleases you, shall we all try some later on?”
“Ehh!? You even brought us high quality meat!? That’s so nice~ Wah, so heavy. Thanks!”
Uhuhuhu, teppanyaki, teppanyaki~
Cooking on a hotplate is teppanyaki~
“Please come in, Kisshouin-san.”
“Please excuse me~”
I followed her into the living room where her siblings were already waiting.
“So you’re finally here, Coronet!”
“Hello, everybody. Thank you for having me,” I said.
I was basically established as ‘Coro-chan’ by now
Kanta-kun was standing in the kitchen and making something.
“Kisshouin-san, take a seat?” asked Wakaba-chan. “Is barley tea okay?”
“Yes, thank you. Kanta-kun, what is that you are making?” I asked.
“Milk pudding. You’ll get some too, don’t worry,” he replied offhandedly.
“My, how delightful!” I exclaimed. “Thank you, Kanta-kun! Shall I help?”
“No. You just sit there,” he said.
“Okay,” I obeyed.
Kanta-kun’s manner of speaking was a little rude, but he was actually a much nicer kid than he let on.
Huh? What do you mean I’m being influenced by food?
I sipped at the barley tea that Wakaba-chan gave me and just rested for a bit.
It was relaxing here.
But there was actually something I planned to ask the next time I came here.
Naturally it was regarding that necklace.
From what I understood, it had been around the teddybear’s neck.
I was scared to ask, but now that I knew about it I had no choice but to do so.
While Wakaba-chan was talking about her studies since the beginning of the school year, I very casually brought it up.
“Say, Takamichi-san? I do recall that Kaburagi-sama gave you a rather cute teddybear, no? It would be nice if I could have another look at it.”
“Eh? Oh, sure.”
Suspecting nothing, Wakaba-chan went to her room to retrieve it.
“Here you go.”
Just like I recalled, there was no necklace around its neck.
I stealthily shifted its collar just to make sure.
“It’s really cute, isn’t it? I was pretty shocked to hear the price though,” she laughed.
“Its round eyes are rather adorable,” I said, as I casually patted it down for any sign of metal.
“…Because it was a limited Christmas special it came with a rather festive cape. But other Christmas bears held presents, or came with other accessories. Did this one not come with any?”
“Nothing at all!”
Then where on earth had Kaburagi’s overly heavy present gone!?
I looked and touched it all over, in every nook and cranny.
“You seem awfully interested in that teddybear, Kisshouin-san,” commented Wakaba-chan.
“Eh? Ah, well, I do have an interest in handicrafts after all, so I was thinking of making one myself sometime. Sorry for being strange,” I apologised.
I guess I was acting a bit too suspiciously.
“Ohh, not at all,” she said. “I’d forgotten that you were with the Handicrafts Club. Don’t mind me. Look as much as you want.”
“Thank you… Say, is this a girl? Girl teddybears often come with accessories, no?”
“They do, don’t they. Hmm, I guess the cape is a bit girlish.”
“Right…? So nothing else came with her? No accessories or the like…?”
“Accessories? I don’t think so…”
But just as I had given up, and handed the teddybear back to her…
“Ah! I remember now. She came with a necklace.”
“Eh!? She did!?”
So there was one!
“Yeah. This cute heart-shaped necklace. I’d forgotten that it had come with it.”
“Where is it!?” I exclaimed.
“My sister has it.”
Why with her!?
“Yeah. My sister really liked it. She’s at that age when you’re starting to want to dress up, right? But I thought real accessories were too soon for a primary schooler, so I gave her that toy necklace instead.”
Oh my god, Kaburagi…
“Might I see that necklace…?”
“Eh? Sure, I guess. Then let me go call Nacchan! Nachaaan!”
What do I do, Kaburagi?
The price of the necklace, the meaning behind it, Wakaba-chan didn’t notice a thing.
Her little sister came out with the necklace.
“Here you go.”
It was a platinum necklace, with an open heart pavé diamond pendant.
“It doesn’t look like a toy at all, right?”
Natsumi-chan, that’s because it isn’t a toy…
“You’d never think that it came with a toy.”
Wakaba-chan, that’s because the toy came with it…
I looked over the necklace in my hand.
When he said he had handmade it I had expecting something a bit less professionally shaped, but apparently Kaburagi was stupidly good with his hands.
I could literally see this in a shop.
You must have really tried, Kaburagi…
I guess all those presents to Yurie-sama must have paid off after the years.
When I spotted the little ‘M&W’ on the back, I began crying inside for Kaburagi.
This necklace was filled with all of his weighty feelings inside.
Kaburagi had toiled in a workshop to make it.
But after seeing Natsumi-chan wearing it so happily, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth.
She really seemed to love it, after all…
I saw nothing, today.
See not, hear not, speak not…
Ah, but I ought to at least make sure she didn’t lose it or throw it away because she thought it was a toy…
“Natsumi-chan? This necklace came as part of a Christmas special, so this accessory is actually well-made enough that people can wear it. Take care of it, all right?”
“Ehh!? I had no idea! Did you hear that Nacchan? Treat it well, okay?”
I was going to forget all about it.
That Kaburagi had designed it while thinking of her, that he had painstakingly crafted it while thinking of her, that he had attached it to the bear and anxiously wondered about her response, I was going to forget all about it.
Unnoticed by the innocently smiling sisters, I silently wiped away the tears in my heart.